Wood is all around us! Take a look around you and you will see wood plays a large part in our daily lives. Huonville Primary spent two days with the Forest Education Foundation exploring the importance of forests and learning about the cycle of planting, growing and using wood.
We begun our forest adventure with a visit to Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s Seed Centre where Robert Crellin explained the complex process of collecting, releasing, cleaning and sowing seeds. Robert taught us that healthy seedlings, grown from seeds gathered from the harvest site, are an important part of successful replanting. It’s not enough just to replant a forest. Foresters carefully test seeds to make sure they are high-quality and monitor seedlings to make sure they survive and grow.
At our next site we learnt about how a forest is harvested. At a cable harvest site we explored the planning and science behind harvesting forests for wood products. When a forest is grown and harvested foresters must protect the soil, water, wildlife and historical sites. Foresters have the important job of providing us with wood products, while also looking after our environment. Russell Rigby explained the importance of a Forest Practices Plan and the set of rules a forester and harvesting contractor must follow to protect the environment and grow new forests for future generations. We also got to meet some of the harvesting team to talk about their jobs and the harvesting machines, thanks to the Bennett’s crew.
We ended our day with a walk through the tree tops at Tahune Airwalk. We considered the different ways that people interact with forests and that it is everyone’s responsibility to look after our forests. We walked amongst Eucalyptus Regnans and discovered that they can grow to almost 100 m high, the tallest flowering tree in the world!
Day two of our adventure took us to the Neville Smith Sawmill where Jonathon Burrows showed us how a log becomes the wooden boards we see in stores. We were very curious about the large saws used to cut the wood and amazed by the speed of the Sawmill Operators. We learnt that every bit of a log is used and not wasted, including the sawdust which is used in fuel boilers.
Hopping on the bus we had a visit to the Look in Lookout, exploring the local forest and the special species that can be found in Wet Eucalyptus Forests. We took the challenge to identify the different species, including, Sassafras, Celerytop Pine and Myrtle. We saw the old harvesting machines and considered the ways that forest science and innovation has changed the way we interact with forest landscapes.
Next we headed to Island Specialty Timber where we saw, smelt and touched the beautiful specialty timbers that come from Tasmania’s forests. With plans to build tables and chairs for their playground the Huonville students selected some Celerytop Pine to use in their Working with Wood program.
We ended our day with a tour of the Wooden Boat Centre where we saw specialty and modern plywood timbers crafted into beautiful boats. We learnt about the ways that boats and timber have played a big part in Tasmania’s history.